The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has increased its health budget allocation by three per cent, from Rs 4,151 crore to Rs 4,260 crore in the financial year 2020-21. This is the second consecutive year the health budget has crossed Rs 4,000 crore.
The focus is on improving infrastructure, reinforcing manpower at tertiary and peripheral hospitals and the development of primary health care services by procuring around Rs 130 crore worth sophisticated equipment, to improve diagnostic facilities and provide effective treatment to the poor.
Although the budget primarily focuses on the health of Mumbaikars, there is no new provision, “as we are mainly focusing on providing accessible and better facilities to patients. As new hospitals and hostels are being set up and medical equipment is being upgraded, we have proposed a 3 per cent increase this year,” said Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi.
Health officials have said 50 civic dispensaries will be set up, which will functional as evening outpatient departments (OPDs). This project will be spread out over two phases; in the first phase, 15 dispensaries will be functional and in the second, 35. Currently, only two dispensaries are operational in the evening. “These dispensaries will be open from 4pm to 11pm, so that it will benefit Mumbaikars who are not able to visit the OPD in the morning because they have to go to work,” he said.
The Aapli Chikitsa scheme is also likely to be extended in all medical colleges in current year. For now this facility is available at peripheral hospitals, dispensary and maternity homes.
Among the initiatives to provide immediate relief to patients, BMC has decided to start 50 evening dispensaries in the city. Also, the body has allocated Rs230 crore for development of its major hospitals - King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, BYL Nair Hospital, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital and Dr R N Cooper Municipal General Hospital. An additional amount of Rs 30 crore has been provided per hospital for the installation of MRI machines in these hospitals.
Rs 65 cr proposed for redevelopment of Kasturba isolation ward
Considering the number of suspected cases of coronavirus in Mumbai, the BMC has proposed Rs 2 crore in Budget 2020, for strengthening Kasturba Gandhi hospital. This comes after health officials from the Central government had visited the isolation ward of the hospital and asked the administration to improve medical facilities in this ward.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani, health department, said, “Currently, we have 28 beds in the isolation ward but have decided to increase this number as a precautionary measure. We will construct a new three-storey building for the isolation ward, which will have 140 beds. For this, we have proposed a Rs 65 crore plan,” he said.
Last week, FPJ had reported that BMC had planned to turn Kasturba Hospital into a national laboratory for testing. Accordingly, the corporation has allocated funds to buy pathological equipment for the purpose. This will help lessen the burden on the National Institute of Virology, Pune.